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The Biden administration is moving to rescind a Trump-era religious conscience rule that allows medical workers to object to providing services that conflict with their faith.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to Fox News Digital on Wednesday that it is in the “rulemaking process” of proposing an end to the conscience rule. The policy change is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget and could become public as soon as next week, Politico first reported Tuesday.
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Former President Donald Trump announced the rule in 2018, which would have made it easier for medical providers to refuse to perform abortions, gender reassignment surgeries, and other medical services on religious or moral grounds. The rule never took effect, however, after being blocked by a federal court in 2019.
At the time of its passing, HHS said the regulation would protect health care workers who object to procedures such as abortion, administering vaccines derived from fetal tissue or referring patients for end-of-life care decisions on religious or moral grounds.
Federal law already protects moral and religious rights of health care providers who work for recipients of federal funding, but the regulation would have increased enforcement and oversight.
News of the coming rescission sparked criticism from conservatives.
“No American should be forced to violate their ethical and religious beliefs,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Matt Bowman said in a statement shared with Fox News Digital. “Doctors, nurses, and other medical providers should enjoy this same constitutional protection, free to live and work in a manner consistent with their faith. Yet the Biden administration’s proposed rule would abandon health care professionals to being forced to perform medical procedures that directly violate their religious beliefs or risk losing their jobs.
“This is an illegal and gross overreach of executive power, and we urge the administration to withdraw this harmful proposal immediately,” he said.
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LifeNews.com quipped that “nothing says ‘faithful Catholic’ like forcing Christian doctors to do abortions,” referring to President Biden’s Catholic faith.
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips and Kelly Laco contributed to this report.